Pontiac Trans Sport Concept

From GM Heritage Center: In 1986, the new generation of Pontiac concept vehicles began with the introduction of what many believe is still one of the most radical minivans ever designed, the 1986 Pontiac Trans Sport concept vehicle.

Based on a lengthened version of the front drive A-body Pontiac 6000, the composite bodied Trans Sport featured a 116-inch wheelbase and a low overall height of 59.6 inches. Though it was lower than most production minivans at the time, with a 12.5-inch step-up height, its interior walk through height of 48 inches was comparable to others in that market segment.

The first thing one noticed on the Trans Sport was its radical windshield. A-pillars were hidden behind the windshield, lending a smooth, aerodynamic look. Up front, the Trans Sport featured the familiar Pontiac split grille theme, updated with multi-element composite headlamps, with driving lamps set in the front fascia. The tail lamps were also innovative; these were unique in that they displayed red for stopping, yellow for caution (when decelerating), and clear for backing up.

Another innovative feature of the Trans Sport was the rear passenger compartment. Most minivans have a sliding rear door on the passenger side, the Trans Sport uses a single gull-wing door that made it easy to get in either of the two pairs of rear captains chairs. Inside the Trans Sport, a cathode ray tube formed the instrument cluster, which was positioned above the steering wheel for easy viewing. Controls for the CRT were located in a fixed pod at the center of the steering wheel. A Head-Up Display unit flashed vehicle speed and other driver selected information onto the windshield, and a personal computer on the passenger side of the instrument panel featured a rollout door that housed a pop-up screen and keyboard. The computer could access weather and hazard reports, navigational information, and could even book travel reservations.

The Trans Sport also featured electric transmission shift controls in the right articulating armrest. An overhead console housed a scanning screen, which replaced the conventional rear view mirror. This TV like display featured a readout that measured the distance of approaching traffic. Non-production 17x8-inch five spoke aluminum wheels with low profile Goodyear tires were used. Under the hood, the Trans Sport featured a turbocharged, non-production, all aluminum 2.9-liter V6 engine that developed 235 hp. It was connected to a performance oriented three speed automatic transaxle driving the front wheels.

As Pontiac intended, a production version of the Trans Sport was released for the 1990 model year.

Fortunately, the 1986 Trans Sport has remained in excellent condition and is part of Pontiac’s Historic Fleet. When GM returned to building true concept vehicles in the 1980’s, it decided these unique creations were significant pieces of its corporate history and the practice of destroying non- production –based show cars ended.

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